Current News

Professor Taylor - Joins CBC Ontario Election Panel

Zack Taylor CBC London PanelProfessor Zack Taylor joined King’s University College’s Jacquetta Newman and Fanshawe College’s Matt Farrell on CBC Radio London’s weekly morning election analysis panel to discuss what the results mean for london

To listen to the post election panel, visit CBC London Morning.


Professor Jonasson - Western Gazette Article

Professor Robert Jonasson shares why provincial politics should matter to students in this Western Gazette article.  With the 2018 provincial election, student political engagement has been dismal in comparison to 2015. Professor Robert Jonasson says that “most people, including students, tend to vote more on average across Canada for federal elections."


Drs. Jerald Sabin and Ian Kalman - New Appointments

Two postdoctoral fellows in the Department of Political Science at Western University have accepted faculty positions in Canada and Vietnam.

Dr. Jerald Sabin has accepted a tenure-track position at Bishop's University and Dr. Ian Kalman will join Fulbright University Vietnam, starting July 1.  Both had been working with Dr. Christopher Alcantara on a variety of projects relating to Indigenous-settler relations in Canada.

Dr. Alcantara's previous SSHRC post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Michael Morden, took a job at the Mowat Centre and is now research director at Samara Canada.

Congratulations to Jerry and Ian as they move on to the next stage of their academic careers!


Professor Zack Taylor - Weighs In On American Metropolitan Governance  

Professor Taylor published a commentary in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on May 23 about proposed reforms to the structure of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council, the United States’ largest regional planning and service delivery agency, and the only one that is appointed by the state governor. He argues that partisan debates over accountability are missing the point because they ignore the historical choices that led to its creation in the 1960s. The Twin Cities Metropolitan Council features prominently in Professor Taylor’s forthcoming book, which is a comparative historical study of metropolitan governance and planning in the United States and Canada.


Professor Marta Dyczok - Toronto Panel Moderator

Marta Dyczok Moderating Toronto Panel

Professor Dyczok moderated a panel featuring Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilyev this past week meeting with the community in Toronto, commemorating Stalin's 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars, talking about the current human rights situation in Crimea, with Ukraine's Ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko, head of Ukrainian Canadian Congress Paul Grod, head of Crimean Tatar Association of Canada Rustem Irsay. Thank you Ihor Michalchyshyn, and to Elvira Saale for the photo.


Professor David Armstrong - Named Canada Research Chair (Tier II)

Professor Armstrong’s work will provide a set of statistical tools enabling researchers to better test theories about the causes and consequences of political phenomena.

The ‘big data’ is driving development of more and more flexible techniques to analyze large data files. One of the biggest questions for researchers is: How does what we learn from these new methods relate to what we have learned through other methods in the last 75 years of data collection and analysis?

Armstrong’s research has broad implications across the medical, natural and social sciences. There are many fields where experiments (the gold standard of understanding causality) are not possible. These new methods will allow researchers to make more causal statements with observational (non-experimental) data.

In a ‘big data’ world, the importance of theory is diminished in favour of sophisticated software that can uncover the important factors relating causes to consequences in a flexible way. The focus is not on a test, but on trying to predict the political outcome of interest.

Armstrong’s research is aimed at integrating these two approaches. His work merges the flexibility of methods for discovering relationships in big data with more conventional methods, allowing for a much deeper and more nuanced understanding of how political phenomena work.


Professors Charles Jones and Richard Vernon - New Book

Professors Jones and Vernon have written a new book titled Patriotism.  "Jones and Vernon’s Patriotism is simply the best available introduction to the tangled questions about citizenship and belonging that roil contemporary political theory. They write with unfailing grace and clarity, their command of the relevant scholarship is peerless, and they are scrupulously fair to rival viewpoints.  They deserve a very wide readership." - Eamonn Callan, Stanford University. 


Department of Political Science Professors Recognized

Congratulations to our Political Science Department Professors awarded the 2016-2017 USC Teaching Honour Roll Award of Excellence!

  • Dan Bousfield
  • Nandita Biswas Mellamphy
  • Caroline Dick
  • Radoslav Dimitrov
  • Zachary Taylor
  • Andrés Pérez
  • Joanna Quinn
  • Richard Vernon

Faculty members are awarded based on teaching evaluations from all of the classes a faculty member has taught in the previous academic year, including intersession but excluding distance studies courses, are included, whose total average scores meet or exceed 6.3 will be listed in the Honour Roll.


Professor Joanna Quinn - Global Congress of the Scholars at Risk Network

Professor Quinn is in Berlin, Germany to attend the Global Congress of the Scholars at Risk Network. Scholars at Risk is an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars and promote academic freedom. By arranging temporary academic positions at member universities and colleges, Scholars at Risk offers safety to scholars facing grave threats, so scholars’ ideas are not lost and they can keep working until conditions improve and they are able to return to their home countries.  See www.scholarsatrisk.org for more information.


Professor Zack Taylor - Ontario 360 project Contribution

Working with Dr. Gabriel Eidelman of the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance, Professor Taylor is one of 30 contributors to the Ontario 360 project, an evidence-based, nonpartisan scan of Ontario’s challenges and opportunities in the context of the June 2018 provincial election. Their transition briefing on Municipal Affairs recommends the appointment of a new ‘Who Does What’ panel to study the provincial-municipal relationship with the aim of clarifying political accountability and improving local public service quality.


Professor Nandita Biswas Mellamphy - Presentation

Inaugural Workshop of the Posthumanism Research Network at Brock University Speaker Nandita Biswas MellamphyProfessor Biswas Mellamphy, presented "Hacking the Data Body" at the Inaugural Workshop of The Posthumanism Research Network (PRN) at Brock University.  The institute seeks to investigate the status and limits of the “human” in an era in which multiple crises — global warming, superintelligent computers, genetic engineering, and massive species extinction, to name but a few — mark the precariousness of exclusively human-centred practice and thought.  The keynote address of this Workshop by Dr. William Brown from  the University of Roehampton on “Expressions and Images of the Post-human in Current Cinema, Propaganda and Politics” is based in part on works of Professor Biswas Mellamphy and other scholars.


Professor Dyzcok – New Publication

Professor Marta Dyczok contributes a chapter on Ukraine in a new publication by the Soviet and Post-Soveit Politics and Society (SSPS)'s Mass Media in the Post-Soviet World edited by Marlene Laruelle and Peter Rollberg. This collection covers the major trends of the media environment of the post-Communist world and their recent development, with special focus on Russia and the post-Soviet space. More details here.


Professor Zack Taylor – Panel Discussion Participation

On March 27, Professor Zack Taylor will participate in a panel discussion on “Legacies of the Megacity: Toronto’s Amalgamation 20 Years Later” organized by the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. Prof. Taylor will be joined by Shirley Hoy, former City Manager, City of Toronto; John Matheson, former Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing; and Alexandra Flynn, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto. 


Professor Christopher Alcantara – Western News Article

Professor Alcantara said going negative in an election has no effect in winning over voters and, in fact, has a negative effect on the attacker’s own campaign. In the Western News Article "Attack Ads Become a Double Negative," he says going positive, finding star candidates to drop into specific ridings and getting the all-important endorsement, can push a party across the finish line. 


Professor Zack Taylor - University of Manitoba Lecture

On March 5, Professor Taylor will give an invited Food For Thought lecture at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture and City Planning Program on resilience thinking in urban planning practice. While in Winnipeg, he will also meet with the Partnership of the Manitoba Capital Region to talk about what the region can learn from international experience with different models of metropolitan governance.


Professor Radoslav Dimitrov – Redesigning EU

Rado Presenting shown on screensProfessor Dimitrov is helping redesign the European Union’s negotiating strategy in international climate negotiations in Brussels, Belgium and Sofia, Bulgaria. He made a presentation to the EU Commission and the EU climate diplomacy team and proposed a 10-point strategy in political communication. The EU accepted the proposal and established a formal group to implement his ideas.


Professor Don Abelson - Presentations

Over Reading Week, Professor Abelson traveled to London, UK giving a number of presentations on Think Tanks:

“Think Tanks and the Trump Presidency.” Presentation to the Policy Research and Think-Tanks Research Seminar, University of Bath (London campus), London, UK, February 16, 2018.

“How to Measure the Impact of Think Tanks.” Presentation to the OTT (On Think Tanks) Conference, London, UK, February 15, 2018.

 “Think Tanks, Expertise and the Crisis of the Liberal Order in the Trump Era.” Presentation to the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS), City University London (CUL), February 15, 2018.


City of Sarnia and Local Government Program Partnership

Local Government students are working to solve pressing policy and administrative challenges with the City of Sarnia.  Policies include cannabis control, updating the local noise bylaw, and a communications plan for telephone and Internet voting; 17 graduate students in the London university’s Local Government Program are tackling how to make them work.  Having another set of eyes is going to free up time for city staff, said Sarnia Deputy Clerk James Jenkins, and potentially give city officials different perspectives to consider. Read More on the partnership in this article in The Sarnia Observer.


Dr. Jerald Sabin - New Publication 

Dr. Jerald Sabin, SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellow in Political Science at Western, has co-authored a new paper with Dr. Andrea Olive in PS: Political Science & Politics 51 (1): 183-189, entitled "Slack: Adopting Social-Networking Platforms for Active Learning." 

According to the abstract: "Online learning in postsecondary institutions has increased dramatically across the United States and Canada. Although research demonstrates the benefits of online learning for student success, instructors face challenges in facilitating communication, delivering course content, and navigating outdated and cumbersome technologies. The authors examine the use of a free third-party platform called Slack as a tool to facilitate better communication among students and faculty, enable the delivery of diverse and dynamic course content, and reach students in an online course that supports both independent and collaborative learning. The authors present a case study of Slack’s use in an online second-year environmental politics course taught at a large Canadian public university. There is a significant and growing literature on how to best engage students in online learning, including active and social learning models as promising approaches to digital teaching. The authors argue that using collaborative social technologies such as Slack—which both replicates and integrates the online and social-media environments that students already inhabit—can assist faculty in meeting their pedagogical goals online. The article documents the instructors’ experience in managing discussion and involving students in their online learning through active learning exercises. Best practices are examined." 


Salim BookProfessor Salim Mansur - New Book

Professor Mansur has written a new book titled The Qur'an Problem and Islamism: Reflections of a Dissident Muslim.  This book is about religion and politics, about Muslims and Islam, and the internal debate within the world of Islam about Islamic reform and what it entails. Mansur discusses the difference between Islam, as a world religion within the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism, and Islamism, as a political ideology and a theology of jihad, and how historically Islam as a religion was turned into the ideology of Islamism, or political Islam. The sacred text of Islam is the Qur’an, and the challenge of any text lies in how it is read, understood, and practiced.


Kenny Ie - Dissertation Defense

Kenny Ie successfully completed his PhD, "Prime Ministers and Public Expectations: A Study of Institutional Change”, supervised by Professor Cris de Clercy. Congratulations Kenny!

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